I find it fascinating that during the life of Paul and Peter, we do not hear about the persecution of Christians by Nero. Nero was known to douse Christians in pitch and strap them to posts. He would then have them set alight and drive around the garden naked while being lit by the burning bodies of these Christians.
Paul himself felt the persecution first hand, yet we do not see any mention of these atrocities recorded in the bible. Non-Christian writers of the time however do record these incidents. The closest we come to hear is in 2nd Timothy where we hear of Paul’s 2nd arrest 2 Tim 4;13. This time not as a Roman but a criminal (2 Tim 2;9) as he was part of the blame for the burning of Rome, which Nero put the blame on the Christians, although it is now known he was the cause himself. Why did Paul not mention this? Tacitus and Pliny’s epistles mention this fact clearly when he wrote to Trajan, the Emperor in AD 112.
The Romans continued the persecution under Hadrian and then Antonius Pius (AD 117-161) while Aurelius continued with the persecution in the French village of Lyons. Maximinus Thrax, Decius and Valerian continued after Septimus Severus had a short respite of the persecution.
Christians were wrapped in animal skins and dogs set on them to tear them apart. Although Diocletian observed some tolerance, he was influenced by Galerius to initiate a short but violent persecution until AD 303 as described by Eusebius and Lactantius.
Yet with all this evidence we do not hear a single word in the Bible of these persecutions…why?
It still fascinates me as we hear that those who died for Christ (those being persecuted) and maintaining His name will receive a special crown.
I have no answer and ask those who do read this and believe they can bring some light on this to let me know.
I do know however, that the persecution has not stopped. It continues today and still we seldom hear about it.
I am reminded about the dear Australian brother working at a leper colony in India where the Sikhs set him and his two sons alight as they lay sleeping in their Landrover.
He was found huddled in a protective manner over his sons when found. His wife has continued his work in the same village where her family had been killed.
Is this indicative of Christian beliefs of coming in opposite spirit and to forgive those who persecute you and can this be why we do not hear of this in the Bible as we cannot dwell on the persecutors, but must dwell on the love and glory of our Lord Jesus.
It is not a them and us thing and we are all sinners and only through His forgiving love can we be established close to His throne and that does not include seeking revenge as He says, “revenge is mine”. If that is so, then why bother mentioning all the persecution as it has no purpose, but to build up hatred which is the opposite of His message to us.
That is my attempt to clarify the question. What is yours?